2018 Pastor’s Reading List

1.    WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT THE DOCTRINES OF GRACE, by Nathan Pitchford (2011). This is a great little book on the doctrines of grace (50 plus pages) that considers Unconditional Election, Total Depravity, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace and Perseverance of the Saints…not from a theologians perspective, but rather from a biblical scholars perspective. There is very little theological explanation of these doctrines offered up on these serious doctrinal points. What is offered up is Scripture that supports each of these doctrines of grace. The first part of the book takes the particular doctrine and provides a biblical address for the reader to look up confirming this doctrines accuracy and the second part is this expanded in that the biblical addresses and the full references is given.  There are many helpful points to this little book but key among them is that by the time you finish this book you have transversed the entire Bible at least 5 times…a great exercise that solidifies these doctrines and our ability to articulate them from a biblical reference rather than just theologically phrased opinion. This little book is free from Monergism and ought to be on everyone’s iPad or phone as a quick reference guide to these wonderful doctrines of grace.

 2.    THE CASE FOR LIFE: EQUIPPING CHRISTIANS TO ENGAGE THE CULTURE, by Scott Klusendorf (2009). I have read many books that seek to prepare the average Christian to engage their culture about this subject of paramount import, but this one rises above all the rest.  It is extremely academic, in that it dissects the mind of the pro-abortionist extremely well from many different directions, but at the same time it is very practical in giving each person who reads this something they can walk away with and use from day one.  He recommends many books at the end that everyone serious about this atrocity occurring in our world should have…but I will go out on a limb and say all you need is this one. He doesn’t spend a lot of time “proving” the truth of the sanctity of life because he operates from a place of certainty in God and God’s Word that makes this clear throughout its pages. The dignity of all human beings is found in the image of God and since the Bible and science support the fact that the unborn are human then everything the Bible says about life applies across the board to the born and the unborn…for all are human created in the image of God. It is a book that you can go to at any time for helpful information and we should. (it is less than 300 pages and very readable.)

 3.    JUSTIFIED BY FAITH ALONE, by R.C. Sproul (2010). This is yet another of the small books (64 or so pages depending on your version) that were produced to share these doctrinal truths with the masses. This is perhaps the shortest and most easily read volume on this essential doctrine to the Christian faith. R.C. himself lays out irrefutable evidence against the Roman Catholic view and the antinomian view of justification.  Specifically targeting the Roman Catholic view he even gives a handy chart at the end that shows the differences quickly and concisely.  R.C. himself says at the end of this booklet, “The differences between these two “gospels”(the Roman catholic and the historical Protestant view) is in grave danger of being lost in our day. Efforts to heal the breach between Rome and the Reformation have yielded confusion among many. The issue cannot be resolved by studied ambiguities or different meanings attached to the same words. The crucial issue of infusion versus imputation remains the irreconcilable issue. We are either justified by a righteousness that is in us or by a righteousness that is apart from us. There is no third way.” I cannot say it better so I won’t.  But everyone ought to read this little work.

 4.    HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE, by J.K. Rowling (1998).  This was a free book from Kindle and as I was out of Kindle books to read I downloaded it and to my surprise I found it to be a fun read.  It is not the literary masterpiece in the same vain as The Lord of the Rings but it masterfully written to draw a person in and keep them wanting more. It is a story of great courage, strength, loyalty, and sacrifice.  Harry and his cohorts at great sacrifice to themselves are seeking to keep Hogwarts safe from unknown forces when they discover that Lord Voldemort a dark wizard/ spirt is behind the mischief leading towards an unknown nefarious purpose. I am a fan of the movies so it seemed fun to pick up this free book.  I have found out some things that were left hanging in the movies that may answer the whole question as to why thing proceed as they do…specifically that Voldemort cannot be killed until or unless he takes on human form…but that is enough for now. Fun stuff and only 322 pages or so.

 5.    NEVER LOOK AT THE EMPTY SEATS: A MEMOIR, by Charlie Daniels (2017). This was a most interesting read to be sure. There is much in here to admire but especially the learning curve towards humility in his long life of entertainment. Charlie makes a great argument for working hard and following your heart…but all through the book he gives glory to God. His testimony of his faith is seen throughout but the chapters that speaks specifically to his faith are inspirational even if there are some doctrinal weaknesses. He is a man who has obviously sought to do his own thing in an industry that seeks to shape people into their mold. His wisdom is common sense wisdom that many people from his generation hold but very few actually share…Charlie doesn’t hold back in this book.  I wouldn’t have picked this book up naturally but I am extremely glad that Leslie picked it up for me for I have grown as a person just by reading his testimony of a lifetime lived here in our midst in a culture complete foreign to me and yet we see a man who holds to the same faith (in most ways)) that I hold to. The title: NEVER LOOK AT THE EMPTY SEATS is what I have sought to believe through the years…the people who are there when you preach are the ones God means to be there (how many or how few)…so proclaim as if your life…and there life… depends on it.  Well worth the time.

 6.    My Final Word: Holding Tight to the Issues that Matter Most by Charles W. Colson, Eric Metaxas, Anne Morse (2017). Chuck Colson’s voice can still be heard in these memos and articles that never got around to be published since he wrote constantly based on this constant reading.  Chuck Colson was a Christian man of the moment and true son of Issachar seeking to help the church to understand the times and our role in these times. If you have never read Chuck Colson before this would be a great overview of everything that he talked and wrote about for over 3 decades before his death. This book which has been put together by Anne Morse and forwarded by Eric Metaxas seeks to cover a wide variety of subjects from apologetics to bioethics to happiness to suffering and ending with a chapter devoted to the war of worldviews. This is a worthwhile read for anyone who wishes to get a good handle on the events of the day and what the church’s role is to be in them. The subject matter is matter of fact and of such a grave nature… even if some of them are a few years old now…that everyone ought to read these and wrestle with them with Scripture to come to an answer for the good of the Church and the glory of God.